How vaccines work – a primer

By Grant Jacobs 13/10/2012

A useful primer on how vaccines work can be found on-line at the CDC website (PDF file). At just two pages long it doesn’t go into depth, but it gives an outline of the immune system and how vaccines work. In particular, it lists the different types of vaccines and explains why multiple doses can be needed.

For many this may be enough depth. For those needing wanting more, but who are new to the topic, it provides a useful starting point that has more than the one-paragraph ‘sound bites’ seen on many websites.

This primer was prepared drawing on material from the Understanding Vaccines pages at the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. Further information can be found at the CDC’s information for parents (including a flyer [PDF file] for those the choose not to vaccinate to understand the risks and responsibilities).

For New Zealanders, further information can be found at IMAC, the New Zealand Immunisation Advisory Centre.

(H/T to Liz Ditz for tweeting the link to the flyer.)

Other articles on Code for life:

Thoughts on, and for, those trying to choose to vaccinate or not

Fact or fallacy, a survey of immunisations statements in the print media

Immunisation then and now

Sources for medical information for non-medics and non-scientists

Monday potpourri: maps, malaria in the USA, cholera in Dunedin and vaccines

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